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Routing Switchers

The current market for routing switchers is a very dynamic place, with the explosion of digital video formats including HDCP and EDID links while new control and configuration options have been added to the mix.

Routing Switchers

Oct 5, 2010 1:25 PM,
By Bennett Liles


The current market for routing switchers is a very dynamic place, with the explosion of digital video formats including HDCP and EDID links while new control and configuration options have been added to the mix. Expandability and a trend toward modular internal media conversion have been balanced by new options in redundant power and hot-swappable components. The models we cover here are representative of these latest developments, and they range in size to suit any mission from presentation to plant-wide routing.

The new HDMI-UTPRO-0808 from AMX can route eight HDMI 1.3 sources to monitors nearby through HDMI cable or over much longer distances on twisted pair with full HDCP compliance. For the longer distances, the unit uses Valens’ HDBaseT technology to support transmission of uncompressed 1920x1080p, audio, and control data up to 100 meters. Using AMX native NetLinx, the UTPro receivers offer remote display control through IR or bidirectional RS-232 serial at various baud rates, and the Ethernet port provides control by way of an embedded web interface. AMX HDCP InstaGate technology offers low-latency switching of HDCP-protected content.

The 3D compatible 4×4 HDMI Matrix Switch from Black Box Network Services has signal boosters on its ports to amplify HDMI signals for transmission with delivery of 12-bit deep color up to 60ft. The rackmountable unit provides a video bandwidth up to 6.75Gbps for support of resolution up to 1080p. It can be controlled from the front panel, an IR remote, or an RS-232 connection to an AMX, Crestron, Control4, or other third-party controller. It also supports HDMI audio formats including Dolby TrueD and DTS-HD.

Communications SpecialtiesFiberlink Matrix OM32

The Fiberlink Matrix OM32 from Communications Specialties is an optical matrix switch configurable up to 32×32. Also available in nonmatching input and output channel capacities, it can be configured to mix and match single and multimode fiber modules with reclocking of SMPTE SDI and CSI data rates. The unit is fully SMPTE 297-2006 compliant, can be fitted with ST or LC fiber connections, and can be remote controlled by RS-232 or through a built-in Ethernet-based GUI. Configuration, firmware updates, and GUI upgrades can be made on a USB port. The front panel of the 3RU chassis is dominated by dual color-illuminated buttons providing preset store, recall, and edit capabilities.

At the top of the DigitalMedia matrix switcher line from Crestron, the DM-MD32X32-RPS provides advanced HDCP support, EDID resolution management, CEC signal management, and USB HID signal routing. The unit is field configurable for handling up to 32 sources in a wide array of signal types. Built-in redundant power supplies are included for mission-critical applications, and the capability can be expanded to 160 outputs over STP copper or on fiber by linking additional units. Audio switching includes video follow and audio breakaway with simultaneous stereo and surround sound from the same HDMI source. Ethernet routing adds to the switching capability.

DVIGear MXP series

Available in a range of configurations from 4×4 to 80×80 with intelligent modular design, the MXP series digital routing switchers from DVIGear offer a number of digital display features including fast switching and advanced EDID management with 100 memories—50 of which can be user-defined. Also featured are multiple digital signal format cross-platform routing, 50-meter cable compensation on all inputs, reclocked outputs for lower jitter, control over RS-232/RS-422 and LAN, breakaway remote-controllable front panels, redundant power, and a backlit LCD control panel. Digital end points for these routers are available as copper and optical extenders. The MXP series supports all single-link DVI resolutions up to 1920×1200 and 2048×1080.

Extron Fox 4G Matrix 320x

Among the many fiber-optic, digital, and analog routing switcher products from Extron Electronics, the Fox 4G Matrix 320x represents the company’s largest fiber-routing solution with expandability from 16×16 to 320×320 in a modular frame designed with 20 board slots. It handles standard-definition video and high-resolution computer video, DVI-D, and multirate SDI with bandwidth capability up to 4.25Gbps. It features hot-swappable I/O boards, power supplies, and a fan. Configurable in any combination of multimode or single-mode I/O boards, the unit has 164 memory presets for saving and recalling commonly used input and output ties. The switcher can be monitored through front- and rear-panel RS-232 ports as well as by Ethernet, and an additional control option is provided by its compatibility with the MKP 3000 X-Y remote control panel.

For-A MFR-5000

Up to 10 For-A MFR-5000 series routing switchers can be linked for heavy-duty applications with automatic multiformat support in HD, SD, ASI, and RS-422 signals. Up to eight front-loading input boards can be installed in each 8RU chassis, and each of these is configured in units of 16 channels for a total of 1204 channels. For reliability in mission-critical applications, options for redundancy include CPU boards, a power source, and networking. If one of the multiple main units goes down, another can continue to operate. The settings and alarms are shown on the front-panel LED display, and there are a number of switcher panels available for remote operation.

Harris Platinum MX

Capable of demuxing embedded audio on input signals, routing them independently, and multiplexing any audio signal in the router on any HD, SD, or 3GB digital video output, the Platinum MX router from Harris uses front-loading, hot-swappable modules. The new 8-channel frame sync card allows up to eight wild video signals to be synchronized to house reference without using external frames or wiring. Supporting coax and fiber connectivity, the unit offers increased tie-line capability and new configuration software. For enhanced third-party-equipment support, a names-based protocol has been added. Centrio modules in the Platinum MX frame provide multiviewer support for all input signals with up to 32 picture-in-picture images controlled by the router system.

IHSE USA Draco Major

With the ability to switch between copper and fiber I/O without using external media converters, the Draco Major routing switch from IHSE USA can be used in a number of different modes for varying missions. It can be configured as a crosspoint switch with 32 video sources to as many as 16 displays; as a KVM switch, the unit can exhibit partner viewing by reproducing one screen’s content to many others. Optional redundant power supplies can be added for reliability, and user and access-rights management can be configured to 1000 levels. The Draco Major is capable of online upgrades, and it is remote-controllable via serial or web interface.

Kramer Electronics Sierra Video Alta Pro

Sierra Video Alta Pro wideband routing switchers from Kramer Electronics offer 600MHz RGBHV and RGB signal routing, employing single-board architecture for reduced frame size, maximum reliability, and dramatic energy conservation. They are designed for demanding RGBHV, RGB, and analog HD signal routing applications and are available in 12×8, 12×4, 8×8, and 8×4 configurations with optional stereo audio. One member of the line, the 88HB5S, is an 8×8 RGBHV switcher controllable via RS-232, RS-422, and Ethernet. The Expand On Demand instant field upgrade allows expansion from component/RGB to RGBHV and/or to a larger Alta Pro configuration by calling the factory and purchasing the upgrade.

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Routing Switchers

Oct 5, 2010 1:25 PM,
By Bennett Liles

Lightware USA MX-DVI-FR80R from

Customizable in I/O configurations from 8×8 up to 80×80 in a choice of four modular, field-upgradable frame sizes, the MX-DVI-FR80R from Lightware USA is a DVI 1.0- and HDMI 1.3-compliant matrix switcher with eight channels on each I/O board (except for the Dual Link DVI I/O boards, which have four channels). Any type of input signal including DVI, HDMI, fiber-optic, and Cat-5/6/7 can be tied to any output in any of those formats. Equipped with hot-swappable redundant power supplies, the MX-DVI-FR80R can be controlled via the front panel, RS-232/RS-422, or Ethernet with a built-in web server. The unit also features 50 factory preset and 50 user-programmable EDID memories.

Link Electronics 762-XLHD7272L/75

A star in the 762 series of routing switchers from Link Electronics, the 762-XLHD7272L/75 has a single front-loaded power supply and can include an optional redundant power supply. Designed for professional video production facilities, the unit has 72×72 switching housed in a 4RU chassis, interfaced on BNC connectors, and it is controllable on the illuminated front panel by RS-232 or Ethernet. The unit handles data rates up to 1.4835Gbps and features audio-follow-video and breakaway modes. Modular construction allows easy upgrades to include more features, and analog switchers in the line can be field-upgraded to digital applications.

Magenta Research Voyager VG-Matrix

With automatic format conversion for video and sound along with the ability to mix and manage HDCP and nonHDCP content, the Voyager VG-Matrix series switchers from Magenta Research can be field-configured in increments of eight inputs up to 320×320. Among its other features are delay-free HDCP switching through pre-authorization; support for mixed single-mode and multimode fiber transmission; and dual redundant, hot-swappable power supplies with dual AC inputs. The unit can transmit up to 6600ft. on multimode and 99,000ft. on single-mode fiber. In addition to multiple video and sound formats, the Voyage VG matrix also switches USB 2.0 and IR/RS-232 control data.

MultiDyne EOS-4000

The MultiDyne EOS-4000 series of electro-optical routing switchers can switch electro-optical signals up to 4.25Gbps via SFP and up to 10Gbps via XFP. The EOS series is controllable by 10/100 Ethernet or over RS-232 serial connections. Scalable in size and bandwidth, the router is designed to accept 4.25Gbps modular I/O interface blades with up to 16 small form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceiver modules per blade or 10Gbps modular I/O interface blades with up to nine XFP 10Gbps SFP modules per blade. The series also supports hot-swappable fans, power supplies, and support cards. The new enterprise version offers new monitoring software featuring an embedded web GUI with SSL security.

Opticis designed the OMM-2000 router to switch up to 36 DVI sources with digital audio (on RCA ports) to 36 outputs and support DDC and HDCP with those signals. In addition to using the local touchpanel, operators can control the unit remotely with RS-232, USB, and Ethernet. The unit also allows operators to designate EDID to inputs in three ways. The recallable factory EDID setting may be used by selecting the connected monitors or by using a third-party program. The local touchpanel allows setup and configuration along with monitoring and diagnosis for input and output stats. The unit supports video resolutions up to 1920×1200 and HD 1080p.

Pesa 384XR

Introduced by Pesa in February, the new 384×720 Cheetah line of high-performance fiber-optic and coax-based matrix switchers handle computer video and 3G-SDI/HD-SDI digital video using front-loaded power supplies, matrix cards, and control cards. The 384XR can expand from 16×16 to 384×720 with support for stereoscopic requirements. When used with the VidBlox fiber/coax dual-link DVI extenders, the I/O cards can perform full uncompressed distribution of 1080p/60. For fiber transmission, the 384XR accepts multimode and single-mode I/O cards and can be configured in either rectangular or square matrix sizes. When configured with the 3500PRO or PERC2000 Control system, the 384XR can provide system monitoring and self diagnostics of all inboard cards.

The new cross-platform modular MXA series routers from PureLink, the MXA-1600 Pro (16×16) and the MXA-3200 Pro (32×32) handle separate routing of HDMI/DVI video and balanced analog audio. The unit may be custom configured by adding individual slot loaded PCBs for DVI or HDMI while the audio is configured with separate boards featuring Phoenix connectors. Input/output boards for DVI, HDMI, Cat-5, and fiber optic may be used. For mission critical applications, dual redundant power supplies assure continuous uptime. In addition to front-panel controls, the units include PureLink’s advanced GUI and proprietary software.

RTcom USA EDM-8080M

The EDM-8080M from RTcom USA supports HDMI, DVI, HD-SDI, and DisplayPort simultaneously on interchangeable cards with fiber-optic and Cat-6 ports. Processing included EDID management with read and learn functions and HDCP with up to 128 keys. Input and output cards include HDMI 1.3, DVI with SPDiF audio routing, DVI basic, DVI dual-link, 3G HD-SDI, DisplayPort, fiber-optic, and Cat-6. I/O can extend to 80 channels, and each card slot consists of eight ports supporting resolutions up to WUXGA and HDTV signals up to 1080p with built-in noise protection circuits on each input and output. User-defined nonVESA resolutions are also supported. The unit can be controlled on the front panel, by RS-232, or LAN.

Smart-AVI AVRouter32

In security and data distribution along with video matrix switching in VGA, SVGA, XVGA, and UXGA formats, Smart-AVI offers the AVRouter32 line in various models for different configurations. In resolutions up to 1920×1200, video switching and distribution can be controlled by RS-232 using a Windows GUI and a very straightforward matrix routing pattern. The SmartControl software also allows setting up switching macros to control multiple presets with a single command. IP control is also available with support for http and telnet. Any infrared system can also be used to teach IR commands for control up to 30ft. away.

Snell Sirius 830

The Sirius 830 is the latest in Snell’s Sirius 800 series of large-scale, multiformat expandable routing switchers. The 16RU Sirius 830 offers a more compact 288×288 frame size for mid- to large-scale studio or OB productions, with the ability to add an additional 144 independently controllable outputs for connection to any Snell or third-party multiviewer solution. The Sirius line features high-performance crosspoint modules for flexible routing of SD, HD, ASI, 3Gbps, and embedded audio signals. Optional redundant cross­points use intelligent path monitoring, which compares signals through the main and redundant path to identify any crosspoint failure. The router can automatically switch to the redundant path and issue a user alarm through Snell’s system-wide MCM control and monitoring application. The front-panel touchscreen presents status and diagnostic information, and Snell’s unique Catsii technology provides indication of router I/O status. Four independent monitoring outputs enable I/O signal health monitoring.

TVOne S2-108HD

Fully compliant with SMPTE 292M and 259M, the TVOne S2-108HD switcher can act in standalone mode or as an input expansion module for any of the C2-2000 series scaler switchers via a D-15 option cable. All of the S2 series switchers can be controlled by front-panel pushbuttons, infrared remote, or RS-232 on a 9-pin D-sub. The unit can input eight SD/HD-SDI inputs and route them to two SD/HD-SDI outputs with automatic reclocking and equalization, and it can work as a desktop model or it is available with single and dual rackmount kits. Data rates are automatically detected and features include a loss of lock indicator.

Utah Scientific Utah-100

The Utah Scientific Utah-100 series routers cover capacity scenarios from 8×8 to 32×32 and have recently added to its ranks the Utah 100/32HD with the same reclocking, equalization, and 3Gbps capability along with both serial and Ethernet controllability using a web browser interface. The router features redundant power through an additional wall-mount power supply or the PSU-12 power supply unit that can provide power for multiple Utah-100 series chassis. The Utah-100 family handles all signal types in both fixed frame and modular designs and can be used in industrial and broadcast applications.

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